Low vitamin D levels could increase the likelihood of children developing allergies, researchers from the Department of Medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago concluded after studying the blood tests of 6,500 people. Lead researcher Michal Melamed, MD, MHS, assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology and population health said: “It is one link in the puzzle, or a first step. It is not the definitive study to show this link but one of the first large studies that shows that this association exists. There are many other reasons to make sure that children and adolescents receive the daily recommended intake of vitamin D—including, importantly, bone health.” Melamed and her team examined serum vitamin D levels in blood collected from a nationally representative sample of more than 3,100 children and adolescents and 3,400 adults in 2005-2006. The study defined children and adolescents as participants aged one to 21. The samples were derived from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children across the U.S. One of the blood tests assessed was sensitivity to 17 different allergens by measuring levels of Immunoglobulin E (IgE), a protein made when the immune system responds to allergens. No link was found between vitamin D levels and allergies in adults. But, for children and adolescents, low vitamin D levels could be linked to sensitivity to 11 of the 17 allergens tested. Those included both environmental allergens, such as ragweed, oak, dog, and cockroach, and food allergens such as peanuts. Children who had vitamin D deficiency—defined as fewer than 15 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter of blood—were 2.4 times as likely to have a peanut allergy than were children with sufficient levels of vitamin D—defined as more than 30 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter of blood.
I recommend children take 1000-2000 IU of vitamin D daily.
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